I recently received a copy of Esham’s latest release Sacrificial Lambz from his publicist. The cover didn’t include a single diamond, a Bentley, a mansion, or a few scantily clad females but a pack of lambs wandering in a field where the sky is blood red. The back cover is a slaughtered lambs head. Leave it up to Esham to be able to scare you with an album cover.
A veteran in the game and the creator of “wicket”, which is his style of horrifying lyrics, Esham has been delivering this type of music for years. Is it scary? Absolutely but it’s also real. And Esham is a dope lyricist regardless what the topic he chooses to rap about is.
Regarded by some as one of the best MC’s to grab a microphone, Esham is still on top of his game. Sixshot.com caught up with Esham to discuss his influence on some of the best rappers in the world, his lyrical content, and Sacrificial Lambz.
Sacrificial Lambz is a hot album. What was the creative process like on this album?
Well basically it took me like three years to do it, you know what I mean? The process was a lot of quit smokin’, a lot of drinking, and a lot of talking to a therapist about things that I was seeing.
Are you happy with the finished product?
Yeah I’m real excited about it. I fe el like Sacrificial Lambz and my whole style and just the way that I rap has been a sacrifice to the industry. I feel like Sacrificial Lambz is like a gift to the industry and a gift to the consumer, whoever buys it. It’s actually a gift.
You’re a veteran in the hip-hop game. You have been around since before lot of today’s superstars. How do you feel about hip-hop today?
I think it all depends on what side of the globe it’s coming from whether it’s the East Coast, the West Coast, or down South. Sometimes it lacks creativity and that’s what I mean when I say that my album is a gift. People have been stealing my style for years and yet again they will go into Sacrificial Lambs and analyze it and break it down and then they’ll know what to rap about. I think that hip-hop overall lacks creativity until they hear one of my records. Then they all know what to do.
A lot of fans and of course you have said that a lot of rappers take your style and run with it. Who do you feel are some of the main culprits?
You could say anybody man from the top 5 rappers in the world even to who the industry says is the top 10 rappers in the world. Everybody has something that I’ve done at some point throughout my entire career. You could see thing in other rappers styles and trace it right back to me. It’s things that weren’t even in the game until I introduced them. After I did that people put their own little spin on it or whatever you want to call it. I don’t want to name any names but it’s whoever people consider to be the best.
You’re known for a lot of what people call the horror core lyrics. (Esham cuts in to clarify)
It’s actually that wicket shit. Horror core is one of those instances where people were trying to steal my shit because I was down here doing the wicket shit. It was such a horrifying experience for the listener that they actually thought I was trying to scare them. People were actually scared. A New York rapper coined the phrase horror core but we just call it that wicket shit.
Do you feel like sometimes the things you say goes over the listeners heads?
The difference between one of my records and somebody like a Soulja Boy’s record is that after you listen to his record you’re actually going to feel stupider but if you play one of my records you might learn something and actually feel smarter. I don’t really think it goes over the listener’s head. I think some of us just want fiction and fantasy and others want reality.
You put a special and real creative spin on everything you do from the music, to the album covers, to the way you list your songs even. Is it important to you to be artistic in that sense?
Yeah that’s what I think people are missing. You got somebody like Jay-Z who talks about selling dope and maybe fucking Beyonce now and then. You look at Nas and everybody is praising their lyrical content but I feel like the lyrics that I spit are equivalent if not better than what they’re doing. I don’t think there’s anybody that’s considered lyrical in the game that can compete with what I’m doing. These people emulated me from when I started so I must subconsciously be the best to everybody in the industry.
From when you first came in the game until now, have you seen a lot of changes in the game and in the music?
Yeah with the conglomerate and the Radio One, and the Clear Channel just fucking hip-hop up by buying all the radio stations and then they control the play list. Those are the changes I’ve seen. Before they wouldn’t play a certain type of hip-hop on the radio but now they will if they are affiliated with these people. They’re kind of killing the music while they’re trying to monopolize it.
The Detroit hip-hop scene is doing well right now. You got talented cats like Black Milk, Fat Ray, Phat Kat, Guilty Simpson. How are you feeling about the scene right now?
I think it’s beautiful that those cats can get out there and get a little bit of name recognition. I support everybody that comes out of Detroit, it’s whether they want to support me or not. It’s like I’m in a league by myself and everybody wants to be better than the best. I’m like Michael Jordan and everybody wants to be Jordan. I support people from the city but they don’t necessarily support me and all that I’ve done and all the doors that I’ve opened for these fucks.
When you first came in the game, were people really shocked at the content of your music?
That’s what I’m saying when I say all these doors I’ve opened up. Rappers can say what they want to say now but we were the guys fighting those battles. Back in the day we would get protested for the shit we were doing. Now people can have a more open mind to the things a shock rapper might say. People can even win a Grammy talking about raping they momma. When I was doing it back in the day nobody was doing anything like that so nobody was speaking on the topics that I was speaking on. It’s like modern day blues. You’re thinking about everything in society like racism, sexism, socialism, just talking about those things that people didn’t want to talk about. We were like a suicidal P.E.
Aight well Sacrificial Lambz is out. You got tours or anything coming up that you want people to check for?
The ‘Substance Abuse Tour’ will be kicking off in August. We just came off the Sacrificial Lambz tour, which was just a promotional tour for the album. I think people should really get this album, listen to it, and respect it for the art form that it is. It’s not anything but an art from. A lot of people get records and they start listening to them and they want it to be like a transcript or something and they ignore the entertainment value. With these hardcore, wicket rhymes we’re actually entertaining you too. Listening to my record is like going to see the movie Saw. You go for the suspense of not knowing what’s going to happen next and my records are like that, you never know what’s coming next.
A lot of albums now all sound the same. They’re like a predictable movie. You already know what’s going to happen at the end but with my album you don’t know what’s going to happen from track to track. I got a track called “Substance Abuse” and it’s about the battle people have with a substance. Some people smoke blunts everyday. There’s people that look at that as the same as heroin or alcohol and I just wanted to let people know that they aren’t the only ones who might have that type of problem and they’re not he only ones fighting or trying to get over it. People could relate to it so we chose to tackle that topic.
Aight Esham, anything you want to say to those die-hard fans out there?
I just want to say to my fans to keep kickin’ that wicket shit. The wicket shit will never die as long as we got politicians like George Bush runnin’ around so ya’ll know what it is.